Pictures by Walter

A View With Every Picture


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Cats and Dogs – with a Difference

Everybody like Awe Photos of cats and dogs at play. I know I do and I have two cats Felix and Loki.  No folks this is not a blog about them :).  I took (what is now-a-days) an older generation DSLR fitted with a 18-200 zoom and  backup 150-500 zoom, the camera came out in May 2009 , fitted with a 15.1 Megapixel sensor, with me, when Susan and I had a day out at the park. The camera is, of course, a Canon 500D, one of my 4 canon cameras, the others being 50D, 60D and the 5DmkII all pretty long in the tooth compared to today’s digital marvels.  Yet they are just as good at taking an image as they ever were.

The cats and dogs I refer to may be seen at the Highland Wildlife Park, near Kincraig, Scotland Wikipedia describes it:

The Highland Wildlife Park is a 105-hectare safari park and zoo near Kingussie, Highland, Scotland. The park is located within the Cairngorms National Park. Wikipedia

We had four objects on this visit, see:

  1. Lynx and Kittens
  2. Tigers
  3. Wolves
  4. Snow Leopards

In fact we had bonus sights on this visit.

First of all was a bonus – every other time we have visited the safari park the Arctic Fox have been asleep, curled up nose to tail and in the land of nod.  This time one was very frisky and they other… You guessed it sleepy.

(1) Arctic Fox

A stroll up the hill brought us to the stunning Snow Leopard

(2) Snow Leopard

On our way to see the Northern Lynx and hopefully the kittens we spotted another elusive creature – the Wolverine

(3) Wolverine

First time we saw them out – I was surprised to see one but to see two!

(4) Northern Lynx Kitten

Another one of the list – We got lucky not only seeing the kittens but the Adults as well. (See Flickr Album).  A stroll back down hill took us to the Amur Tigers, which had just been fed

(5) Amur Tiger

(6) European Grey Wolf

Last but not least

(7) Male Polar Bear

Click on Image below to see Flickr Album of Visit

Click on image to full Album


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20170806 – Steam to Tweedmouth

Fife Circle to Tweedmouth and Back

Outbound

SRPS (Scottish Railway Preservation Society) Railtours Fife Coast and Border’s Railway steam special. Hauled by Sir William Stanier’s iconic Black Five 45407 The Lancashire Fusilier.

(1) SRPS Rail Tours – 45407 “Lancashire Fusilier”

We set off at 08:50 from Linlithgow on time our train of 10 passenger coaches + 1 service coach was headed / hauled by Ex LMS Stainier Black Five 44507 “The Lancashire Fusilier” and tailed by type 37 diesel.

(1) Technical details: Canon 500D,  f6.3, Canon 18-200 mm Zoom @ 50 mm,  Shutter 1/100th sec ISO 100

On this trip we would cross the river Forth four times. Twice outbound and twice return.

(2) Crossing the Forth for First Time (1 out of 4)

(2) Technical details: Canon 500D,  f7.5, Canon 18-200 mm Zoom @ 20 mm,  Shutter 1/125th sec ISO 100

There was a planned photo-stop at Dumfermline Station whilst we awaited our path on the circle.

(3) Waiting Right of Way at Dumfermline

(3) Technical details: Canon 500D,  f5.6, Canon 18-200 mm Zoom @ 50 mm,  Shutter 1/80th sec ISO 100 

(4) Steaming to Tweedmouth

From Dumfermline we made our way around the Fife stopping for passenger at Kirkcaldy and Dalgety Bay before making our way to Edinburgh Waverley to pick up our final passengers.  Then it was full steam ahead to Tweedmouth and the Borders Railway

(4) Technical details: Canon 500D,  f6.3, Canon 18-200 mm Zoom @ 110 mm,  Shutter 1/160th sec ISO 100

(5) Arrival at Tweedmouth

We arrived at Tweedmouth on time and made our way to lunch at Abbotsford (another blog).

(5) Technical details: Canon 500D,  f6.3, Canon 18-200 mm Zoom @ 50 mm,  Shutter 1/100th sec ISO 100

Return

We depart at 15:15 from Tweedmouth, this time we were hauled by the Type 37 Diesel as far as Newcraighall triangle where “The Lancashire Fusilier” one again hauled the train in Edinburgh Waverley.  Unfortunately due to a signal check we lost our right of way and had to wait for a suitable space in traffic.

(6) Departure Edinburgh Waverly

(6) Technical details: Canon 500D,  f5.6, Canon 18-200 mm Zoom @ 200 mm,  Shutter 1/250th sec ISO 1000

We reversed out Outbound route Stopping at Dalgety Bay, Kirkcaldy, Dumfermline and a 45 minute water stop at Winchburgh Junction.

 

(7) Technical details: Canon 500D,  f5.6, Canon 18-200 mm Zoom @ 200 mm,  Shutter 1/250th sec ISO 1000

Despite losing time on the return journey prior to Edinburgh we had made up time and arrived back at Linlithgow as scheduled. Throughout the journey the volunteer SRPS staff had provide a very professional service to the passengers.

Gallery

Forth Road Bridge and the new Queensferry Bridge (Click on image to see gallery of journey)


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20170724 – Stroll Around The Loch

Livingston, formerly Livingston New Town, is situated between Glasgow and Edinburgh and easy to get from west and east.  Being sited next to the M8 and the A71 gives Livingston good road connections to North, South East and west.  Linlithgow (Historic Town) is the other side of the Bathgate Hills and is approx 30 minute drive from my home.

St Michael’s Parish Church

(1) St Katherine’s Aisle Window

Churches dedicated to St Michael have traditionally been placed on high ground and St Michael’s Parish Church, Linlithgow, is no exception. Built on the rise between the town of Linlithgow and Linlithgow Loch, anywhere else this large church would command instant attention over a wide area. But here it shares the stage with its larger neighbour, Linlithgow Palace, which lies immediately to its north.

(1)  St Katherine’s Aisle Window – Technical details: Canon 500D,  f4.5, Canon EFS 18-200 mm Zoom @ 28 mm,  Shutter 1/40th sec ISO 100

(2) The Choir Technical details: Canon 500D,  f3.5, Canon EFS 18-200 mm Zoom @ 18 mm,  Shutter 1/30th sec ISO 200

 

Stroll Around Linlithgow Loch

A circular walk 2.25 miles around Linlithgow Loch is a nice way to while away some time.  Dependant on how you treat the walk it can take 30 minutes for joggers to an hour for the stroller, even more if you stop to enjoy the wildlife and views etc.  Feeling somewhat housebound Susan and I decided to go feed the swans and ducks – taking seed not bread, and my camera.

(3) Technical details: Canon 500D,  f85, Canon EFS 18-200 mm Zoom @ 18 mm,  Shutter 1/200th sec ISO 100

 

Swans, Ducks etc.

The loch is well known for the water fowl, ducks and swans.  Whilst used to humans around them they are still untamed wild birds, and if you get too close you get one warning, especially from a mute swan.

(4) Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

(4) Technical details: Canon 500D,  f3.5, Canon EFS 18-200 mm Zoom @ 18 mm,  Shutter 1/30th sec ISO 200

As we walk around the loch the terrain changes to a wilder less maintained landscape.  This of course allows the wild flowers to bloom and prosper much to the delight of the bugs, butterflies, moths and of course THE flower of Scotland – The Thistle.

(5) Bee and Thistle

(5) Technical details: Canon 500D,  f8, Sigma 150-500mm Zoom @ 500mm,  Shutter 1/840th sec ISO 200

Royal Ruins – Linlithgow Palace

As we walk around the loch the ruins of the once Royal Place of the Stuarts attract the eye.  Birthplace of the last Queen of Scots, Mary Stuart the ill fated Queen.  James V before he died is reported to have said “it came wi a lass, it’ll gang wi a lass” (meaning “It began with a girl and it will end with a girl”).

(6) Cross of St Michael’s and Linlithgow Palace Ruins

(6) Technical details: Canon 500D,  f8, Canon EFS 18-200 mm Zoom @ 100 mm,  Shutter 1/125th sec ISO 125

Gallery

Click on image for Gallery

 


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20170708 – British 1-Act Open Festival Final

Belfast Hosts 84th British Festival Final 8th-9th July 2017

The time had come for the four champions to meet for the title of  British 1-Act Champions. Four clubs would fight it out to be crowned the British Champions.  These teams had survived from District > Divisional>Country and now going head to head at the MAC (Metropolitan Arts Centre) Theatre, Belfast.  The festival would be over two days and Walker Ewart, a well respected Adjudicator would be landed with the task of picking the overall Festival Champion . Teams from Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England were ready to give the best performance to win the coveted Howard de Walden Trophy. I was asked to be official photographer for the event.  The festival would be over two days with the presentation of the trophy at the end of the festival.

Northern Ireland – Bangor Drama Club: The Galway Girl by Geraldine Aron

Bangor Drama Club opened the 84th 1 Act British Final on 7th July 2017 with Geraldine Aron’s “Galway Girl”. Two actors portray marriage between two different classes through the years using  a small set.

(1) Galway Girl – Bangor Drama Club

(1) Galway Girl  – Technical details: Pentax K-1, Sigma f2.8, 70-200 mm Zoom @ 180 mm,  Shutter 1/30th sec ISO 3200

 Scotland – Aberfeldy Drama Club: Ring Road by Anita Vettese

Set in a run- down hotel.  Lisa whose marriage to Paul was breaking down over their inability to have children had arranged to meet Mark, her brother in law with a view to getting her pregnant.

(2) Ring Road – Aberfeldy Drama Club

(2) Technical details: Pentax K-1, Sigma f2.8, 70-200 mm Zoom @ 200 mm,  Shutter 1/80th sec ISO 3200

The completion of the Aberfeldy play signalled the end of the competition for that night.

Civic Reception: Belfast City Hall.

Saturday saw the clubs and representatives of the 4 nations at a Civic Reception hosted by Belfast City Council.  The guest of Honour was Dame Mary Peters CH, DBE and a former Lord Lieutenant of the City of Belfast.

(3) Walker Ewart (Adjudicator), Mary Peters, President of AUDF and the High Sheriff of Belfast

(3) Technical details: Technical details: Pentax K-1, Sigma 150-200 mm Zoom @ 35 mm, f2.8,  Shutter 1/80th sec ISO 400

England – Total Arts Community Theatre: Lear’s Daughters by Elaine Feinstein & the Women’s Theatre Workshop

Total Arts Community Theatre presented Lear’s Daughters by Elaine Feinstein & the Women’s Theatre Workshop opened the second night of the festival.

(4) Total Arts Community Theatre: Lear’s Daughters

(4) Technical details: Technical details:Pentax K-1, Sigma 150-200 mm Zoom f3.2, Shutter 1/160th sec ISO 3200

Wales – The Unknown Outcasts: Future Shock by Richard Stockwell

The Unknown Outcasts: Future Shock by Richard Stockwell

(5) Technical details:Technical details: Pentax K-1, Sigma 150-200 mm Zoom @ 180 mm, f2.8,  Shutter 1/125th sec ISO 3200

Presentation of Howard de Walden Trophy

Walker Ewart (Adjudicator) had the daunting task of  marking these four plays, not an easy task.  The final decision made and the All British Champion of the 2017 Open 1-Act Festival was:

 

 

Total Arts Community Theatre


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20170626 – Laugh of the Kookaburra

Walk-through Aviary Re-opened

On our two previous visits to Five Sisters Zoo the walk-through aviary was closed due to the threat/possibility of avian – flu. Being a bird lover I think this is one of the best things in a zoo.  It may not be big, but it has loose flying birds which act naturally and not caged.  Admittedly there are cages birds in the zoo, may hap some day they will join the others in the walk-though aviary. On this visit it was as if the Kookaburra was celebrating the re-opening of the Aviary as his/her laughing call could be heard all over the zoo.

(1) Kookaburra

(1)  Head profile of Kookaburra- Technical details: Pentax K-50,  f6.3, Sigma 18-270 mm Zoom @ 155 mm,  Shutter 1/250th sec ISO 100 

What Plant?

As we walked up to the Bears’ enclosure we enjoyed the blooms and bushes which surround the walkways.  Indeed the Zoo has a lovely new walk “The Secret Garden” unfortunately we did not get a chance to walk through it as it was still in preparation.  One of the bushes caught our eye and we have been trying to identify it ever since.

(2) What Plant ? – Technical details: Pentax K-50,  f14, Sigma 18-270 mm Zoom @ 250 mm,  Shutter 1/320th sec ISO 1600 

(2) What plant?

 Walk with a Bear

We have been lucky this year, seeing the lions and the bears on each visit.  Today it felt as if the bear was giving us a tour of her spacious home which she shares with two other ex-circus (rescued) bears.  Believe me when you read their story you will realise that their caged area is indeed spacious.

(3) Walk with a Bear

(3) Technical details: Pentax K-50,  f6.3, Sigma 150-500 mm Zoom @ 500 mm,  Shutter 1/500th sec ISO 800

Let Sleeping Cats Lie

Not far from the bear enclosure the ex circus lions have a spacious pad with a view.  However, like all cats the spend most of their time sleeping.  Seeing the size of their paws I’d just let them sleep.

(4) Let Sleeping Cats Lie

(4) Technical details: Pentax K-50,  f5.6, Sigma 150-5000 mm Zoom @ 290 mm,  Shutter 1/400th sec ISO 200

Stalking Wolf

Across from the lion enclosure the Arctic Wolves normally patrol the perimeter of their space.  This visit coincided with feeding time and gave me the chance to capture a wolf stalking they keeper (who was outside the fence) and the feed bin :).

(5) Stalking Wolf

(5) Stalking Wolf : Technical details: Pentax K-50,  f6.3, Sigma 150-5000 mm Zoom @ 340 mm,  Shutter 1/400th sec ISO 800

Gallery

Baby fascinated by Ring Tailed Lemur

 


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20170617 – Scottish Youth Festival Final

Scottish Youth Festival Final

Regulars readers will recall that my partner, Susan is heavily involved in the Am-Drama scene in Scotland.  She holds the Posts of

  1. Edinburgh District Secretary
  2. Eastern Divisional Secretary
  3. Member of the SCDA Scene Magazine Committee
  4. Member of the Festivals Committee

SCDA – Scottish Community Drama Association more commonly called, SCDA or Scottish Community Drama hold an annual Youth Drama Festival (1-Act Plays)  and an Open Festival.  In both festivals clubs enter at district level and winners go onto Divisional level.  Winners from Divisional finals go to the Scottish final. Youth teams festival finishes with the Scottish Final.

My involvement is minimal – I take pictures and find the challenge in getting a production shot which shows the actors portrayal of character and not a posed shot and taking into account the stage lighting.

This year the Scottish Youth Final was held at Birnam Arts Centre in Dunkeld and organised by SCDA Northern Division on 17th June 2017.

Kirkintilloch Players:  The Wall

Winners and Scottish Champions SCDA 1-Act Festival 2017 Click here or on image to see full album of The Wall

(1) The Wall  – Technical details: Canon EOS 5DMkII,  f2.8, Canon 70-200 mm Zoom @ 160 mm,  Shutter 1/80th sec ISO 3200

(1) Kirkintilloch Players 2017 Scottish Champions SCDA Youth Festival.

 Thurso Players: Box

Box by Linday Price – Performed by Thurso Players at SCDA 2017 1-Act Youth Festival

(2) Technical details: Canon EOS 5DMkII,  f2.8, Canon 70-200 mm Zoom @ 142 mm,  Shutter 1/160th sec ISO 1000 (Click on image for full album)

(2) Thurso Players – Box

Indelible Arts Theatre: Sparkleshark

Indelible Arts Theatre production of Philip Ridley’s Sparkleshark at the SCDA 2017 1-Act Youth Festival

(3) Technical details: Canon EOS 5DMkII,  f2.8, Canon 70-200 mm Zoom @ 102 mm,  Shutter 1/100th sec ISO 1000 (Click on image for full album)1/400th sec ISO 2000

(3) Indelible Arts – Sparkleshark

Unmasqued Drama Company: Remembrance

Unmasqued Drama Company’s production of Mark Rees’ Remembrance at the SCDA 2017 1-Act Youth Festival – Scottish Final

(4) Technical details: Canon EOS 5DMkII,  f2.8, Canon 70-200 mm Zoom @ 110 mm,  Shutter 1/125th sec ISO 320 (Click on image for full album)

(4) Unmasqued Drama Company: Remembrance

 

 


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20170615 – Steam to Scarborough

Scarborough Spa Express

My birthday was in May and my partner asked what I would like as a present. Hmm tough question with so many answers.  However, we have a bucket list, not a real fanciful one though it has one really must do before we go trip.  On our list was a trip to Scarborough behind steam.   A quick check on the net showed that West Coast Railways has an Express to Scarborough on the North route starting from Carnforth.  The route – Carnforth, Hellifield, Skipton, Keighley, Shipley, Leeds, Lancaster, Preston, Blackburn, Hebden Bridge, Brighouse, Wakefield KG and York.  Train would be deisel hauled from Carnforth to York (Network Rail’s conditions), Diesel would be swapped for steam locomotive at loop outside York and thence to Scarborough. For our trip we would be hauled by two diesel loco Type 37 and 47 and our steam locomotive would be the ex-LMS Stainier Jubilee class Express passenger engine 45699 Galatea.

(1) 37515 Loch Laidon hauls “Scarborough Spa Express” into Carnfort

(1) Technical details: Pentax K-50,  f8, Sigma 18-270 mm Zoom @ 31 mm,  Shutter 1/80th sec ISO 800

(2) Change of locos and power

(2) Technical details: Pentax K-50,  f8, Sigma 18-270 mm Zoom @ 31 mm,  Shutter 1/80th sec ISO 800

 

(3) Onto York Station

(3) Technical details: Pentax K-50,  f8, Sigma 18-270 mm Zoom @ 155 mm,  Shutter 1/125th sec ISO 400

(4) Departing York

(4) Technical details: Pentax K-50,  f8, Sigma 18-270 mm Zoom @ 250 mm,  Shutter 1/400th sec ISO 1600

(5) On the Scarborough Line

(5) Technical details: Pentax K-50,  f8, Sigma 18-270 mm Zoom @ 128 mm,  Shutter 1/200th sec ISO 200

(6) Arrival Scarborough

(6) Technical details: Pentax K-50,  f8, Sigma 18-270 mm Zoom @ 128 mm,  Shutter 1/200th sec ISO 200

Gallery

Departing Scarborough